The Boston Planning & Development Agency announced earlier this month the delivery of approximately $11 million in funding to the West End Museum, Museum of African American History, Boston Preservation Alliance, Old West Church, the Boston Transportation Department, and the Boston Public Works Department. This funding is provided by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as a result of their clinical building project currently being built on Fruit Street in the West End. The clinical building project will include new beds and clinical facilities for the hospital.
“Mitigation funding is critical to strengthening our community through important local organizations,” said Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison in a press release. “I am glad that MGH could be a part of that work with such a sizable commitment, and I look forward to seeing how this funding will benefit these important institutions.”
“Collaborating with the organizations endeavoring to preserve and celebrate the West End’s rich and important history is an integral part of our Cambridge Street Project,” said Massachusetts General Hospital President David F. M. Brown, MD, in a press release. “We are thrilled to support so many important programs and institutions, while also reaffirming our commitment to strengthening our area communities.”
MGH’s commitment to supporting the West End Museum includes ongoing monetary contributions of $250,000 per year for 10 years for operating support, the inclusion of historic displays in the Clinical Building, the provision of an MGH-affiliated individual to serve on their Board, and an endowment of $1 million. These commitments total approximately $3,650,000.
“This funding provided to the Museum via the BPDA is an essential part of rebuilding our space after a catastrophic flood in January, and will help to ensure that we reopen in 2023 fully in line with the vision laid out by our team,” said Executive Director of the West End Museum Sebastian A. Belfanti in a press release.
The Old West Church, which serves the West End with a variety of social programs and stewards the main remaining historic community building of the Old West End, received funding for historic rehabilitation and/or programmatic support. MGH will also make an annual payment to the church for five years in support of food justice and community-building in the West End. These commitments total approximately $2,500,000.
“Old West Church is grateful to be a part of MGH’s community mitigation agreement. The funding has helped secure a future for Old West’s building, a national historical landmark, and our important food justice work,” said Rev. Dr. Sara Garrard in a press release. “We at OWC are grateful for the work of MGH as a community partner dedicated to equity and justice, the future sustainability and livability of Boston’s West End neighborhood, and beyond.”
MGH will also partner with the Museum of African American History, which provides programming aligned with MGH’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. This funding will allow for the design and renovation of the Museum’s exhibit hall, a Museum presence in the clinical building with exhibit space curated for Museum content, and a corporate sponsorship over ten years. These commitments total approximately $3,050,000.
“The Museum of African American History is honored to begin a new partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital,” said Chair of the Board of Directors of the Museum of African American History, Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, in a press release. “The generous funding that we have been awarded will allow for both increased capacity and the expansion of our mission to tell the story of 18th and 19th century African American history, and how it impacts today’s exploration of race and the struggle for human rights.”
The hospital remains committed to providing a financial contribution supporting the Legacy Fund, established through the advocacy of the Boston Preservation Alliance as a mechanism for development to enable local historic preservation projects. MGH will also continue to involve the Boston Preservation Alliance in its efforts to preserve the façade of the Winchell School. The funding commitments for the Preservation Alliance total approximately $1,100,000.
In addition to these important local organizations, the Boston Transportation Department and Public Works will receive more than $4 million to study design changes and improvements that can be made to Cambridge Street, Blossom Street and the North Grove/Cambridge Street intersection.
“As Councilor for the West End, I am so proud of all the organizations that steward the rich history of this Boston neighborhood — including its immigrant and Black history and its community gathering places,” said District 8 Councilor Kenzie Bok in a press release. “MGH is an institution that has always made its home in the West End, so it’s deeply appropriate that its new project is enabling these transformational investments in the West End for the next generation.”
This funding is part of the community benefits and mitigation agreements that the BPDA negotiated with Massachusetts General Hospital for their new clinical building project. Community benefits and mitigation from projects are negotiated via the Article 80 review process with developers as a way to ensure significant and long lasting improvements to the public when new developments are built in their neighborhoods, according to the BPDA.